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The Rocky Mountain Regional Specialty Pack String assists in managing and maintaining wilderness and back country areas using traditional animal packing livestock skills.

arrow From May 21-25, 2012 the Rocky Mountain Regional Specialty Pack String presents "Packing for the Real World" in Shawnee, Colorado


Rocky Mountain Pack String promotes stock packing skills


The U.S. Forest Service is committed to sound wilderness preservation and continued trail use enjoyment, establishing the Rocky Mountain Regional Specialty Pack String in 1990 with the following mission statement:

photo of horse and mules on the trail

The pack string on the job

With 9- mules and 4-horses we cover 17 National Forests and 7 National Grasslands. We are based out of Shawnee, Colorado, about 50 miles Southwest of Denver. Shawnee is on the Pike-San Isabel National Forest but our working territory ranges far beyond our home base. The RMRSPS services South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming.

photo of mule with man and big pipe

Attentive mule studies the welding process


Work for the pack string

The type of terrain and the type of work varies. The 2012 season will keep the pack string busy working on the following projects:

• Wyoming Horse Expo April 20th thru April 22nd representing the U.S. Forest Service as goodwill ambassadors with packing demonstrations throughout the expo. (Douglas, Wyoming-Fairgrounds)

• Packing Clinic “Packing for the Real World” extended to partners and volunteers working with their local agencies on their public lands May 21st thru May 25th (Mule Headquarters here in Shawnee, Colorado)

• Work project packing in fencing material for the Wild Turkey Foundation from April 23rd thru May 3 (Chadron, Nebraska)

• Work project packing three months of tools, gear, and supplies for the Colorado 14’ers from June 18th thru June 29th (Gunnison National Forest on Mt. San Luis)

• Work project packing in bridge materials from July 30th thru August 3rd (Big Horn National Forest in Wyoming)

photo of horse and mules on the trail

Ungainly drainage pipes are just one of the challenges for the pack string


Learning packing techniques

Training is an importantfunction of the pack string. The five-day intensive course on "Packing for the Real World" presents an opportunity to learn, share, and apply work-related packing skills in a real world setting, including test rides. Each day will provide informal but structured packing skills using the saw buck and decker styles of packing. Topics include: Safety, Tools of the Trade, Panniers/Manties, Minimum Impact Pre-Trip Planning, Knots and Hitches, Transporting Stock, Putting the String Together, Out Rider Responsibilities, 6-Principles for Leading a Packstring, Diamond & Top Loads, Loading & Packing Tools, Trail Etiquette, High Line, Turning-out Stock in the Back Country, Hobbles/Portable Electric Fence.

For more information:

Contact Glenn Ryan at - phone (303) 838-8675 or (720) 320-8731

Learn more about the pack string on the US Forest Service website

photo of mule with man leading pack mules

Glenn Ryan and the Rocky Mountain Regional Specialty Pack String


Glenn Ryan, Lead Packer for the Rocky Mountain Regional Specialty Pack String, enjoys teaching and training Forest Service employees and the public to use proper safety practices as the students develop in their packing and mountain riding proficiency. Raised by his parents, who owned a hunter-jumper stable, Glenn’s horsemanship and riding skills goes straight back to riding jumping horses from the ages of 7 to 18. In 1975, he graduated from college with a degree in Natural Resources and started working with the U.S. Forest Service. For 22 years he has been a goverment packer with collateral duties as trails foreman, and back country patrolman. He is currently the lead packer, since 2004, for the Rocky Mountain Regional Specialty Pack String. He is quick to give credit for much of his horsemanship and livestock skills to working on remote cattle ranches in Northern California. “There is no better way to handle cattle than from the back of a horse,” says Glenn.


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